Saturday, November 12, 2011

To Carry or Not to Carry?

A friend of mine recently informed me that it's relatively easy for law abiding citizens in my neck of the woods to obtain a permit that will allow them to carry concealed firearms throughout the state. All one has to do is apply for the permit, pass a background check, be interviewed by a law enforcement officer, pass a sixteen hour course on gun safety, and qualify with whatever firearm(s) one intends to carry.

I'm giving serious thought to applying for one of these permits. But should I do it? These seem like fairly dangerous times, and I don't live in the best of neighborhoods or the safest of cities. Not only that, but local and statewide budget cuts have led to mass layoffs of cops, making communities even less safe than they were before. There's something to be said for taking one's safety and the safety of one's loved ones into one's own hands, since, even under the best of circumstances, cops function more to arrest perpetrators after they've already victimized people than to prevent them from victimizing us in the first place.

Yet, it would cost me a lot of money to obtain and periodically renew the permit, buy a relatively concealable firearm or two, and purchase the ammunition and pay the range fees to practice enough to get and stay sharp and safe with my weapon(s). And even if I did all of that, how much safer would I be than without a weapon?

I have a firearm in the house now, and I admit that I feel a lot safer with it than I would without it, whether I actually am or not. If someone tries to break into my house or actually does so, I'd far rather have my formidable weapon in hand than not. But what are the chances of anyone actually doing this while I'm home? And what are the chances of my facing a situation outside the home where I'm carrying a weapon, will need to use it to defend myself or another innocent person, and will be able to do so effectively? Is it worth the trouble to get and keep the permit and the weapon(s), and would it be worth the possible risk that I and the public would incur by my doing it and carrying a loaded firearm around with me?

Cops undergo far more intensive and regular training to safely handle their firearms than most private citizens with permits, myself included, ever will, and even they still make mistakes. Is it really a good idea for private citizens to be walking around literally loaded? Well, all I know is that if I obtain my permit and end up carrying a firearm with me, I'll handle it with extreme respect and conscientiously follow all the rules to the letter.